Six acts to play the blues by the ocean |

Producer Paul Benjamin says the headliner is whoever you come to hear at the Gloucester Blues Festival this weekend.

In its sixth year, the Gloucester Blues Festival has a lineup of six musicians traveling from all over the country to play at Stage Fort Park on Saturday.

“The way I look at it, I’ve got six headliners,” Benjamin said. “All of them are capable of closing a show. Depending who you come to see, that’s your headliner.”

All of the national touring artists and bands will be playing at the Gloucester Blues Festival for their first time.

The 2017 lineup is Tullie Brae from 11 a.m. to noon, Vanessa Collier from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., Jeff Jensen from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., James Armstrong from 2:45 to 4 p.m., the Monster Mike Welch-Mike Ledbetter Band from 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. and John Primer from 5:45 to 7 p.m. 

“Every year we bring in different artists. There are so many blues artists, so I have a rule of not bringing anyone back for at least five years,” Benjamin said.

Booking blues for almost 40 years, Benjamin organizes five other festivals along with the Gloucester concert. He attends a lot of shows to find up-and-coming artists to bring to his festivals alongside the well-known names.

“You can educate people on seeing new artists,” he said, “I don’t look to bring in my favorite artists, I look to fit in a number of different styles of blues. Old blood and new blood mixed together.”

Benjamin’s long-term goal for the festival is to see it grow in size.

“Gloucester is going in right direction. It’s growing each year; it’s good for the local economy,” he said, “It takes a few years for a festival to get off the ground and once people realize it will be there to stay — we’re getting to that stage with Gloucester in its sixth year — people realize it’s right in their backyard.”

The first show had around 600 attendees, and the audience has…

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